Maximizing Efficiency with NetSuite Import Templates: Tips and Best Practices

If you’ve ever attempted to load data using NetSuite import templates, you know that it can sometimes be a bit of a minefield.

It’s not uncommon to encounter errors and issues that can cause the import to fail or result in incorrect data being imported. Often it takes countless attempts just to get a successful import.

Don’t worry, I’m here to help!

In this article, I’ll be sharing some tips and best practices for using NetSuite import templates and the CSV Import feature.

When we’re done you’ll have an arsenal of new tricks to cycle through every time you prepare a CSV file to minimize the risk of yet another failed import!

How to format your CSV file for importing in to NetSuite

Column headers

Make sure the headers of your CSV columns match the field names in NetSuite that they are mapping to. It seems like common sense but pay special attention to your wording.

A column titled Phone No. will not automatically map to a field called Phone Number, for example.

Labelling your columns correctly will mean the Field Mapping will process automatically rather than via your manual matching off which could results in errors. This will not only improve on accuracy but also save a lot of time.

Remove Empty Columns

You may have a standard template that you use on a monthly basis for importing transactions, for example. Some months, a few of those transactions have a Department listed. Other months, none of them have a Department. If the Department column is totally blank just delete the column from your import.

So long as you don’t map the column on the Field Mapping page, it shouldn’t normally cause the file to fail, however, it does open lots of opportunity for error.

If you are using a Saved CSV Import then you won’t need to manually map the column. If you have labelled the column correctly in your CSV, you won’t need to manually map it. The odds are you are more likely to have to remember to unmap it. Save yourself the hassle and just delete empty columns from your file.

Format Dates

I can’t tell you in this article what format you should be using for dates. That is set on your account. If you are unsure of what date format you should be using you can check by going to Setup > Company > General Preferences.

Set the date format preference in NetSuite

If the date is not in the preferred format, the file will fail. Using Excel you can change your date format of the highlighted column by selecting More Number Formats from the Number Formats drop down. Then select custom and select the preferred format.

Formatting dates on your CSV file
You can use this article to find out more about Excel date formats including how to create a custom format.

Parent Child Relationships

When importing any list value that is a child of another value in that list NetSuite requires you to separate the values with a colon.

An example of this is if I am importing a customer against my Meeks Outfitters subsidiary I need to use the full hierarchical name. Meeks Outiftters is a child of Parent Company so the correct field value is Parent Company : Meeks Outfitters. This applies to all list values including, but not limited to, subsidiaries, customers, vendors and transactions.

Use Internal IDs wherever possible

When you are not used to it, I appreciate it can seem like a hassle converting everything to Internal IDs. Personally, though, I do it so often that it takes me only a moment to quickly download a list of internal IDs and perform a VLOOKUP.

I tend to do this when the dataset is large and I am working with a customer who has a lengthy sets of classifications such as department and class. Rather than going through and verifying all the values and trying to figure out the format NetSuite wants, I find it quicker and easier to convert everything to internal IDs.

When taking this approach you just need to remember to change the Reference Type from Name to Internal ID on the Field Mapping page

How to switch the field mapping to Internal ID when loading data via NetSuite import templates.

Delete Residual Data

If you have created your CSV from a larger file that once contained other columns, there can sometimes be the distant memory of some residual data. Don’t ask me how but this can sometimes cause the import to fail. Clear all the empty cells in your file by following these steps.

  • Select the first blank column after your data ends. Do this by clicking the header cell that contains the column label. This will select the entire column.
Removing residual data in NetSuite CSV import templates.
  • Press Ctrl + Shift + → to then select all subsequent blank columns
  • Right click on the highlighted area and click Delete.
  • Now Select the first row after your data ends. Do this by clicking the header cell that contains the row label. This will select the entire row.
  • Press Ctrl + Shift + ↓ to then select all subsequent blank rows.
deleting rows of residual data in NetSuite CSV imports
  • Right click on the highlighted area and click Delete.
  • Save your file

Dealing with CSV Import Errors

Even if you follow all the tips above, your imports will still fail at some point. If you choose not to follow the tips above then when your import fails you will have a few starting points to work from, however, there are a plethora of potential error messages to be received.

Fortunately for you, I have also outlined some of the more common error messages that can be returned during CSV imports in NetSuite and offer tips for troubleshooting and resolving them. This related article will walk you through those frequently received errors.


A Beginner’s Guide to NetSuite CSV Imports: Setting Up Your First Import

Step-by-Step Guide to Importing Sales Orders in NetSuite

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